We began this book with an exploration of how the human body has been understood within social work theory, arguing that the focus has been ‘all around’ rather than centred on the body. We argued that social work theory and practice can be seen as underpinned by four preoccupations or themes: (1) a view of human beings as individuals, active agents in their own lives; (2) a recognition of the influence of social structures in constraining and enabling human action; (3) an awareness of inequalities which characterize social life; and (4) an interest in and focus on working to ameliorate the situation of those who are marginalized, excluded and vulnerable. However, in the ways in which these themes have been analysed, the body remains hard to find, assumed and taken-for-granted with emphasis on understanding the nature of ‘being human’ rather than on the flesh and blood material body. We noted that recognition is given to the necessity of understanding human beings within their environmental context, but the nature of this relationship with the environment remains relatively unconsidered, and definitions of what constitutes environment are somewhat unclear, except in so far as person and environment are considered separate, although interacting, entities. Social work theory, we argued, does place emphasis on the effect of stressors impacting persons as they grow and develop and the importance of resilience in enabling the best adaptation to life’s challenges, but this is largely in relation to social constructionist and critical theory perspectives.
Swipe to navigate through the chapters of this book
Please log in to get access to this content
To get access to this content you need the following product:
- Social Bodies
- Macmillan Education UK
- Sequence number
- Chapter number